SEC Adopts 2013 US GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given its approval to the 2013 US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) financial reporting taxonomy, which will allow companies to rely on its for use in preparing and submitting their financial statements in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the body responsible for maintaining, updating, and improving the taxonomy, first issued the 2013 taxonomy for public comment last August, then in nearly final form pending SEC approval in December. FASB says the release approved by the SEC was modified after it was made available in near finished form in late 2012.

The taxonomy is a list of computer-readable tags in XBRL enabling companies to tag each piece of financial data in their financial statements and footnote disclosures. The SEC’s approval is required before companies can rely on it to submit their financial statements in XBRL. The SEC has said it plans to begin removing old GAAP Taxonomies from its library of GAAP resources, so companies that have been slow to adopt newer taxonomies need to do so to assure they are keeping up to date with changes.

Companies with questions about using the new taxonomy for creating and submitting XBRL-tagged interactive data files in compliance with SEC rules are being directed to the SEC. The SEC contact details and guidance are available at the SEC’s portal on XBRL.

The FASB said that minor changes made since last December are explained in page 5 of the release notes, and it’s important for those companies that may have been working with their own XBRL processes based on the December release to take note of those minor changes and assure their XBRL filings reflect them. “The changes are very minor,” said FASB spokesman Christine Klimek.

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